SPP Donors Support Summer Internships

It’s summer! For many of us, that means a slightly more relaxed routine, seaside vacations, and backyard barbecues.

But for SPP students, summer offers the chance for meaningful work at government agencies and nonprofits across the country, learning real-world skills that will help prepare them for lives of public service.

Thanks to SPP donors, many SPP students are able to accept unpaid (or minimally compensated) internships that take them around the globe.

For example, Ghida E-Banna (MPP ’18) will be a Barnard Fellow this summer, funded at an internship in Chicago, IL, through the generosity of UMass alumnus Richard Barnard (BS ’76, MPA ’86). Ghida, a 2017 Smith College graduate and biology major there, will intern at Truth in Accounting, a nonprofit that focuses on making government financial information more transparent and accessible to citizens.

A fellowship funded by Kristen Keel (BS ’88, MPA ’92) will take Danielle Corrado (MPPA ’18) to Washington, D.C., this summer, where she’ll intern at the International Food Information Council. Danielle came to SPP from Cornell University, where she majored in food science. Danielle’s internship will enable her to build skills in an area of long interest—translating the sometimes complex world of food science into terms understandable by lay people, including our nation’s policymakers.

Another student interested in food policy funded by a Keel fellowship is Estefania Marti Malvido (MPPA ’18). Estefania will intern in Mexico City at Fundación Mexicana Para la Salud, one of the country’s top health policy think tanks. Estefania hopes to build on work she did as a UMass undergraduate in the College of Natural Sciences, where she was a member of a product development team creating protein sources to mitigate undernourishment among children in Zambia.

For some SPP students, internship support means that they’re able to remain in the Amherst area during the summer. Madeleine Neill (MPPA ’18), for example, will be a Barnard Fellow at Tapestry Health, which provides confidential health care for residents of Western Massachusetts. Madeleine will conduct research on policies impacting women’s health, an interest she developed while an undergraduate at Eckerd College in Florida.

SPP is grateful for the visionary role of such alumni as Kristen Keel and Richard Barnard, who recognize the many benefits of internships, including:

  1. experiential learning opportunities that can’t be replicated in the classroom;
  2. access by often financially-strapped nonprofits to research and data analysis skills possessed by SPP students;
  3. opportunities for students to gain professional connections and networks that support career development; and,
  4. curricular enrichment, as students bring real-world experiences back to the classroom that shape their own understanding of textual material and that of their classmates.

Internship support is a valuable investment in other ways. Internships are often out of reach for students with limited means, which perpetuates the very inequalities our educational system should remediate. And internships are long-lasting, influencing the work of our future public servants well beyond their graduate training.

SPP is grateful for donor support of required summer internships. Please check back this fall to learn more about the achievements of all of SPP’s summer interns.